The UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi and the Director General of the United Nations Migration Agency, IOM, William Lacy Swing appealed for greater support from the international community to the countries and communities in the region receiving a growing number of refugees and migrants from Venezuela. With an estimated 2.3 million Venezuelans living abroad, more than 1.6 million have left the country since 2015, 90 per cent of them to countries within South America.
Grandi and Swing commended States in the region for generously hosting Venezuelan nationals arriving at their borders. They nonetheless expressed concern over several recent developments affecting refugees and migrants from Venezuela. These include new passport and border entry requirements in Ecuador and Peru, as well as changes to the temporary stay permits for Venezuelans in Peru.
“We recognise the growing challenges associated with the large scale arrival of Venezuelans. It remains critical that any new measures continue to allow those in need of international protection to access safety and seek asylum,” stressed Grandi.
“We commend the efforts already made by receiving countries to provide Venezuelans with security, support and assistance. We trust that these demonstrations of solidarity will continue in the future,” said IOM´s Director General, Ambassador Swing, in Geneva Thursday.
Of particular concern are the most vulnerable—such as adolescent boys and girls, women, people trying to reunite with their families and unaccompanied and separated children who are unlikely to be able to meet documentation requirements and will therefore be placed at further risk of exploitation, trafficking and violence.
UNHCR, IOM, UN agencies and other partners are working in support of national responses by governments in the region to this complex human mobility and protection situation. This current situation underlines the urgent need to increase international engagement and solidarity in support of the governments’ response plans and addressing the most pressing humanitarian needs, in order to assure that those are met, safe transit is guaranteed and social and economic integration can be provided in line with larger development strategies.
Following the commitments of the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants, timely and predictable support by the international community is needed for fairer sharing of responsibilities and to complement the efforts of host countries.